Myrna Eloise Noble Oak, 92, of Asheville, North Carolina died at Givens Estates Health Center on November 7, 2019 surrounded by her loving family after a short illness.
Born in Wilmington, Illinois on November 21, 1926, Myrna was the daughter of the late Walter and Doris (Hazelton) Noble. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband of 71 years, Wayne L. Oak, and sister, Barbara (Noble) Russell.
In her youth, she was a longtime member of 4-H where she learned the art of sewing, cooking and gardening. Her life was shaped by the values of 4-H; head, heart, hands and health. It was a thrill to show her handiwork at the county fairs. Myrna graduated from the Gallagher School of Business and attended the University of Illinois. She was always busy with creating, from simple mending for her family to fine crafting including quilting, rug braiding, chair caning, furniture upholstering, wood carving, glass painting, lamp shade cutting or any new craft she could learn. Her sewing machine was usually in the car when she went visiting family. She was an excellent cook and had a great imagination in creating new and interesting dishes.
Myrna loved the outdoors and as a youngster spent many hours outside with her father on the farm, even operating some of the equipment at a very young age. She was devoted to her garden and flowers both for their usefulness in food preparation and their esthetics in creating joy. Her love of the outdoors continued into adulthood as she listened to and mimicked bird songs, contemplated cloud formations and reveled in the western North Carolina mountain peaks. Simply being outside brought her great pleasure even up until her death. When she was not outside, she enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading and computer games.
Myrna loved traveling, camping and hiking. She did extensive hiking with her husband particularly in retirement. They walked in all 50 states and 51 capitals on their many Volkswalking adventures. Together they backpacked the Grand Canyon rim to rim, climbed Mt. Saint Helens and walked in many other national parks, witnessing and delighting in the beauty of all the United States.
She was an active member of United Methodist churches her entire life. Myrna was involved in Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Waynesville and a member of the Tullis Sunday School Class. Most recently, Central United Methodist Church in Asheville was her home church. She was a member of Eastern Star for over 60 years.
Family was Myrna’s greatest joy. She is survived by her daughter Kathleen Odvody and husband (Dwayne) of Waynesville; son Steven and wife (Cynthia), of Asheville; daughter Valerie Wheeler and husband (Burton) of Dunlap, TN; son Dr. Jeffrey and wife (Rev. Dr. Carol) of Cincinnati, OH. Myrna is also survived by nine loving grandchildren: Lance and wife (Ashley) Odvody, Durham; Amber and husband (Matthew) Ayers of Colorado Springs, CO; Andrew and wife (Lisa) Oak of Spring, TX; Adrienne and husband (Wasim) Al-Abed of Cornelius; Nathan and wife (Heather) Wheeler of Lexington, SC; Gabriel and wife (Brittany) Wheeler of Signal Mtn., TN; Bethany and husband (Ines) Pavon of Dunlap, TN; Nathaniel Oak of Cincinnati, OH and Julia Oak of Boston, MA.
Myrna has 18 great-grandchildren: Asher, Brayden and Jayce Odvody; Ezekiel and Hallelujah Joy Ayers; Neely and Jackson Oak; Laila and Mariam Al-Abed; Oliver, twins Eleanor and Henry Wheeler; twins Blayne and Alma Wheeler; and Noemi, Sol, Lucas and Josue Pavon.
A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at Long's Chapel United Methodist Church Sanctuary with Reverend Tim McConnell and Reverend Rob Blackburn officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the celebration at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Haywood County 4-H at the NC Cooperative Extension, 589 Raccoon Rd, Suite 118, Waynesville, NC 28786, your local 4-H, or Four Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care.
Heartfelt thanks to all the staff at Givens Estates Health Center, and Four Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care as well as staff at The Crossings at Reynolds Mountain.
The care of Mrs. Oak has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes.